A regular 1920s party in a secret London venue completely lit by candles, with live jazz bands, cabaret and retro-DJs. As spring approaches, we this time evoke the heyday of luxury liners, the Art Deco dream of gleaming speed, the adventure of travel, the romance of shipboard life and the opulence of First Class—in an age when the journey itself was as important as the destination.
The birth of the ocean liner came with the rush of immigration to the US, but the pinnacle of opulence was the 1920s and 1930s, when ships were aimed squarely at the wealthy, particularly Americans fleeing Prohibition for some drink-soaked fun in Europe. The Normandie, for example, offered a swimming pool, gym, shooting gallery, nightclub, shopping mall, Byzantine chapel, children's playroom complete with merry-go-round and a cinema showing films before general release. First Class passengers were even given an Hermés clutch bag in the shape of the ship. Every trip came with a printed passenger list so movers and shakers could see who else was on board.
At our party there will be portholes and nautical drinks, with deck chairs and quoits outside on the smoking terrace. As the sun sets over the horizon there will be live music from the ship's dance band The Silver Ghosts, plus cabaret from Champagne Charlie and vintage vinyl spun by DJ Auntie Maureen.
There will also be a prize for the Best Dressed guest, of a pair of tickets to the V&A Museum's exhibition Ocean Liners: Speed and Style.
The kitchens will be open all night, offering a three-course set menu as a preorder, plus a range of bar snacks. Guests receive an email two days before revealing the secret location and are encouraged to dress in 1920s outfits—so pull on your flapper dress, and get ready to Charleston.
"The closest you'll find to an authentic Jazz Age experience in central London. Its unique ambience, fuelled by hundreds of candles, is truly a scene to behold." —Time Out